Monthly Archives: October 2013

My birthday – and a giveaway

Yes, after all the fanfare, waiting, building excitement and drama, it is, in fact, my birthday. To be honest I have been a little ho hum about it. My chicks aren’t with me, so the real celebrations will happen when they return, and we all celebrate the middle chick’s birthday on Saturday. (Let’s face it, any hope of big celebrations for my birthdays disappeared about 9 years ago when I gave birth to my beautiful girl two days after my birthday!) However the day has started well – a beautiful sunny day, a surprise breakfast with the MIML (who has been MIA for a while so doubly nice), a parcel of the most gorgeous fabric from my sister (the one with the matching fabric addiction),

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beautiful messages from my family all over the world (facebook is a gift on days like this!) and a funny card from Miss N telling me that I am not old!!

That is in part because I have realised that I am now officially middle aged. (Sorry Mum and Dad and my various very young Aunts and Uncles who might read this – – but it doesn’t mean that you aren’t middle aged anymore – it just means that we are all middle aged together now!) In an effort to stave off the depression that that phrase brings with it I have fulfilled my plan to re-join the gym (it was lovely to catch up with the owner which means that I will feel good attending too!), I have planned a lovely night out with a dear friend and I have decided to focus on the good things in my life. The list, I am proud to say, is long. And would probably bore you to tears, while making me teary with emotion. Rather than do that (because that is no kind of celebration is it?) I am going to have a giveaway. I want to thank all the people who have supported me this year as I have started my blog, my shop and my journey towards my dream of running my own business (no matter how small!). I have met some great friends online, and some in person, and have enjoyed the sense of community that I feel around me. My sewing and blogging have kept me going when things around me felt like they were crumbling.

I have decided to go all high-tech and use a rafflecopter giveaway plan (to prove that despite my advancing years I am not yet a dinosaur!) so the link is on the right hand side of this page. It opens today and closes in a week’s time, and you can earn more ‘tickets’ in the raffle by answering more questions. The prize? I decided to make the prize, given that I think that a little bit of my love goes into everything I make, so it means that I am including that love in the prize. (Oh okay – and the fact that I am loving appliqueing cushions might have something to do with it too!!) So the prize is a custom appliqued canvas cushion with the word or image of your choosing on it – and I will post internationally as well as within Australia. So – to celebrate my advancing years, get clicking!!
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An update on my ‘to-do’ list I hear you ask? (Perhaps!) Yesterday was huge – I joined the gym, AND did a workout. I cleaned out the car, unpacked and repacked the camping trailer, made two of the gifts for the middle chick (and one involved using the drill and the saw!!) (the mystery shrouding my efforts is because the cheeky chicks sometimes read the blog while they are away!), vacuumed the house, walked the dog, did some weeding, made a present for my sister and mailed it, and re-photographed a couple of items in better light. Phew!

Today in honour of my birthday I might go a little lighter on the heavy lifting and focus on some toy sorting as my treat (oh yeah, I am partying hard!). Or I might lie in the hammock. With a gin and tonic. The options are endless!  I hope that you are having a wonderful day wherever you are!

An invitation to share the love!

This is a bit different to my usual posts – you know how I like to keep changing things around here! I would like to invite all or any of my readers to give some input to a series of posts. I read amazing blogs every day and would love to be able to write or promote them all here but fear that I wouldn’t do them justice. So I am inviting all of you – whether you have a blog or not – to write a short piece about a blog that you love to read and why. Or if you don’t have a favourite blog, then maybe a favourite link to a tutorial and why! Then I can post your piece here and give some love back to the blogs you like, and, if you have your own, give you a bit of love too!! What do you think?

If you are interested – and you can write a sentence, a page or a paragraph, I don’t mind – send me an email at alittlebirdmademe@gmail.com. In the email let me know which blog/s you like to read and why, or which tutorial/s you love and why, and then let me know a bit about you, so we can let people know who you are too! Photos or logos can be included if you want – or not. As a starter lets say that I should have the email by Sunday 13 October and I can start sharing next week. If you need more time, don’t stress – let me know as this is all very flexible!!

I am also thinking about doing some cross promotion, so if you would like to have your banner displayed on my blog in return for showing my banner on yours for a month, let me know and we can work something out! (Muttering to myself that I really need to work on making my banner look a bit professional!!)

In other news I can report further ‘ticking off’ my list. Some medical appointments out of the way, a new driver license (where I sadly look my age), all the bits for making the middle chick’s birthday presents acquired, an appointment at the gym tomorrow, some better eating (not quite a diet yet!) and the dog walked. Oh – and some more bags!

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How is your week going? And what do you think of my spur of the moment idea? Do let me know!

Ticking things off the list

You will be pleased to hear that I am ticking things off my list from earlier in the week. Not a lot, but something is better than nothing!

I made two more cushions
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two of my smaller bags

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and then decided to create a new design for a “Big Bag”.

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I also did some ‘research’ and attended the Handmade Markets here in Canberra. Although I did break my self imposed rule and purchase a ceramic egg holder, a gorgeous tea towel, some beautiful soothing cream, and some very delicious locally made organic chocolates (so good!!)  I also did a lot of observing. I looked at how stall holders held themselves and interacted with their customers (the ones chatting to their friends rather than to customers lost sales), which stalls attracted my eye, how items were displayed, and how frustrating it was to not see the name of the stall holder prominently displayed. I also met a couple of my fellow Etsy sellers who I had interacted with online, got tips from a few other stall holders, and had a lovely chat with a fellow bag maker about the processes we use for our bags – so lovely to talk to someone who understands the practical issues!

I am ticking things of my list at a much slower pace than I would like, but am also listening to my body which keeps telling me that I need rest.  As is so often the case, I didn’t realise just how tired and run down I was until I stopped.  I thought that a couple of days rest after the kids left would do the trick, but apparently that is not the case!  My eldest chick rang me today and asked if I would like them to return a few days early from their trip so that they can be here with me for my birthday.  What a dilemma!  I would love to have them here, but I also know that this is my only chance to rest and catch up before school starts again, and that if they return early that will mean that I lose 4 days of rest…..  So I explained to her why I thought they should stay for the time they planned with their father and assured her that I would be fine on my birthday, even though they won’t be here.  Their father and I don’t always communicate effectively so trying to explain to him that I need the break didn’t go as well as it might have, but I think the eldest chick understands my reasoning.

I had missed a few things off my list when I wrote it – but have achieved a much needed haircut today.  Some medical appointments have been attended or are scheduled (I strained my back earlier in the week – looked like a 95 year old trying to get out of bed for a couple of days there!) and friends have been phoned for a catch up.

But for now, it is a long weekend here, so I am going to listen to my body and get an early night knowing that I can sew tomorrow!!

I hope that you have had a good week.

Friday finds – a list of DIY gift ideas for a 9 year old girl with links to tutorials

Oh dear. The middle chick turns 9 next week and I am drawing a blank about what to make for her (let alone buy for her!) Last year I made her bunting with her name on it, and a creativity suitcase. This year? I am just not sure! So I decided to prepare a list of the links I find and share them with you in an effort to find inspiration for myself! Let’s hope it works!

Hair accessories

These days my nearly 9 year old is very fashion conscious.  She puts together her own outfits with more style than many adults – layering colours, textures and different fabrics to create her own ‘look’.  I think that some hair accessories to assist in her styling wouldn’t be out of order!

Interchangable ruffle headband – Funky Polka Dot Giraffe

Hair accessories – Life and Grace

Hair Accessories – Style My Party

IP-HAIR-ACCESSORIES

Rolled Ribbon Rosette Hair Accessory – Mom Advice

Home décor

Part of developing her own style means that my nearly-nine year old is a ‘tween’.  So it is time to update the bedroom décor and let her have her own space to express herself.  Some of these accessories might just do it!

Alphabet cushion – Hobbycraft

Fabric covered magnetic board – Riley Blake Designs

Fabric buckets for storing ‘things’ might also be useful as part of a ‘makeover’ – see the list I prepared earlier! Friday Finds – a list of 23 tutorials for fabric baskets and buckets

Fabric Covered Pin Board – The 36th Avenue

Reading Nook – Club Chica Circle

Clothing

Hmmmm….. perhaps making her some things that fit her ‘style’ might work!  With summer coming on she definitely needs a new hat – and is very picky about what she will and won’t wear.  Perhaps if I make one with funky fabric that might work!

Reversible Bucket Hat – Oliver and S

The other thing about summer is that she wants to wear shorts – all the time.  So perhaps I need to make some of these for her (adjusted to her size of course!)

25 DIY shorts to try – Cameo Blog

Or a skirt?

25 Girls Skirts Tutorials – Every Little Day

Technology accessories

Like so many young people my tween has an embarrassment of electronic gadgets.  A cover to assist in protecting them would be just the ticket (and in fact now that I remember, something that she has been asking for!  Yes, yes – insert the embarrassed face of a forgetful mother here!)
Kindle Cover – Diary of a Young Teacher

Padded Gadget cover – Riley Blake Designs

Ipad Cover with wrap around Pocket – Sewn Up by Teresa Down

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Editted to remove links to the WhipUp.net site which appears to have been closed.

Kindle Keeper – Polka Dot Chair

And to assist with the earphones that I keep finding tangled in a heap!

Earbud Pouch – Erin Erickson

A list of iPad and Kindle cover tutorials – TipNut

Things of her own

My middle chick loves to have her ‘own’ things now rather than sharing in the communal household things.  She also loves to ‘borrow’ her mother’s heat pack for all sorts of imagined ills….. so maybe she needs her own!

 Heat Pack – Fellow Fellow

She does have a large amount of pencil cases, but when you are the artist-in-residence you can’t have too many!

Pencil roll – You Go Girl

Notebook Cover – Sew Up by Teresa DownUnder

Edited to remove links to the site WhipUp.net which has been closed.

 

The good news is that after spending the last hour or so preparing this list, I DO know what I am planning to make for my middle chick!  Now to see if I can pull it off before she returns from her holiday!  I hope that the list helped you a bit too!

Ah the serenity.

The camping (or glamping) trip is over and the chicks have departed for a trip with their father for the remainder of the school holidays. The house is strangely quiet. Miss N is still here with me, but she is off doing something and the only sounds are the keyboard, the hum of the house staying warm, and the gusts of wind outside. It is lovely.

The camping adventure was just what we all needed. The weather was perfect, the sea was cold, the rockpools were teaming with life, the kangaroos weren’t too intrusive, our neighbours were nice, and the chicks met new friends amongst the other campers.

RooThe obligatory kangaroo shot for my overseas readers!

The middle chick had been complaining at home of ‘being too stressed’ which is, while slightly amusing coming from an eight year old, a sad indication of how we were all feeling by the end of school last week. On the camping trip she smiled, laughed, relaxed and agreed with me that she felt much better. She learnt to ride a skateboard and had a great time doing laps of the campground and gaining confidence and speed. The boy found new friends everywhere for the first day or so, then found a lovely boy to play with, whose parents were equally lovely so we shared some time with them. I didn’t give the boy any of his ADHD medication while we were camping and he just ran, talked, scootered, dug, ran, and enjoyed each hour of daylight – then passed out in his stretcher. He didn’t need to be focussed on anything, and there was so much open space for him to burn up energy in, that I decided to just let him go. I think it was good for all of us. It was strange to be away without the eldest chick but she had a wonderful time on her road trip with her father.

Beach

Another sunset shot from Monday night because it was just so lovely I have to share!

Now, while I try to clear my head and get myself mentally stronger so that I can go back to work in a week or two with all the energy I need to do my job properly, I have time at home without the chicks. Time for crafting. Time for planning. Dangerous time really! My ‘to-do’ list is long. Too long. So I am going to dive in and see what I accomplish before something bright and shiny distracts me!

My plan (in no particular order):
Finish the memory quilt.
Take the boy’s quilt-top to the quilter to be quilted.
Renew my driver license (because my birthday is soon and that is when it expires!)
Make a present for the middle chick’s birthday.
Prepare for the middle chick’s birthday party.
Prepare a submission for a grant to support the boy.
Make some bags for the Etsy shop, and for the December stall.
Make some cushion covers for both.
Make some overnight bags for both.
Make some nappy mats for both.
Make some zipped pouches.
Make some ipad covers.
Make, make, make, make.
Finish my shelf stands and paint the shelves.
Make a screen frame for the craft stall.
Work on my business plan.
Oil the front and back deck.
Oil the kitchen bench.
Oil the outdoor furniture.
Mow the lawn.
Clean the carpet.
Tidy up the disaster that the boy created in his room before leaving.
Change over the chicks’ wardrobes for the change of seasons.
Relax and rest and get better.
Join the gym.
Go to the gym.
Walk the dog.
Prepare my papers for the accountant.
Visit the accountant to do my tax return.
Do some bulk cooking so the freezer is re-stocked.
Go on a diet.
Recover the lounge chairs.
Plant a vege garden.

Hmmmmmmm……..I stopped typing, not because I ran out of things to type, but because as I typed I realised that there aren’t enough hours in the day. Again! Might need to work on priorities, or outsourcing, or ignoring some of the list.

Back to enjoying the serenity for a while as I contemplate that!
I will, of course, let you know how I go!